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Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu

Posted on: June 29, 2012


This article is written by Sudhir, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

Enjoying the film music now in its ninth decade, we are mostly familiar with all the variations, adaptations, improvisations, and of course even outright copying of music items across films, across music directors and across time. A very interesting adaptation / variation to the Hindi film song is a parody. A well known song from an earlier film is reused in a new film, generally keeping intact the melody and the tune, but the words are changed for a comical effect, mostly. We are all familiar with parodies, and I am sure we can surely list a few at the drop of a hat.

But where do you think this concept of parody started in Hindi films. In this post, I present what is possibly the very first instance of a parody in a Hindi film. And this is a true blue parody – taking off on a very well known song from an earlier period, the tune and melody is intact, and the words have been changed to give a comical, nay, a riotous effect. And of course the singer is trying his level best to ape the original voice.

This song is from the film ‘Miss Frontier Mail’, produced, yes, way way back in 1936. This is the famous original stunt film from the house of Wadia Movietone, featuring the famous fearless Nadia, the queen of stunt films in the 30s and 40s. The more discerning readers would already be on the way to guess the original song of which this one is a parody. The words are somewhat of a giveaway. The original is the iconic song “Jaao Jaao Ae Mere Saadhu Raho Guru Ke Sang” from the 1933 film ‘Pooran Bhagat’, sung by the redoubtable KC Dey, under the music direction of RC Boral. Three years later, this film by Wadia Movietone probably made a very daring venture to imitate the original, but totally subvert the meaning and emotion contained therein.

As opposed to a religious cum inspirational original song, the parody is a fantastic take off in terms of a drunkards pronouncement – that it is not possible to give up drinking. The words, created by a poet whose name is as yet not available, are such a hilarious spoof. But to top it, the on screen performer, who goes by the name of Meenu, the Mystic, has rendered this song and also performed it with such rampant abandon, that it is verily a treat to watch and listen. Especially his huge handlebar moustache. 🙂

The film is produced and directed by Homi Wadia. The name of the lyricist is lost in antiquity, at least for now. The music direction is by Master Mohammed. The star cast includes Nadia, Gulshan, Sardar Mansoor, Sayaani ‘Aatish’, John Cowas, Jaal Khambatta, Meenu the Mystic, Master Jaidev, Bashir Qawwaal. A very interesting side note here. A footnote in the Geet Kosh confirms that the name Master Jaidev listed in here is none other than Jaidev, the music director, appearing as a child artist, way back in 1936. This film is one of the seminal productions and a trendsetter in the stunt genre. The following brief description of the film is adapted from the material available on the internet.

Savita, aka Miss 1936, is an amateur hunter while her brother Jayant is an amateur film-maker. Their father, Maganlal, is arrested for the murder of a station-master. He is defended by their uncle Shyamlal, who is in fact the mysterious Signal X. Shyamlal causes a major train smash-up so as to promote his new airline. He then implicates the hero Sunder, son of the railway president, in the crime. Savita overcomes the nasty Signal X, whose henchmen are caught on film by Jayant as they sabotage a bridge. Nadia indulges in extensive fist-fights, set to heavy sound effects, and a famous hand-to-hand battle alongside Sunder atop a moving train.

Playback singing had already been pioneered in 1935, but it appears that it took some time for the concept and the techniques to catch on across all centers and all studios. For it is very apparent that this song is being performed live by the on screen performers – it is not in playback mode. This makes the rendition of the song all the more interesting, as one sees how the singing and the action in the frame is coordinated. Considering this aspect, one can begin to appreciate the scale of difficulty in capturing on celluloid, such performances live. The pre recorded song in case of playback scenario, does makes shooting of the songs somewhat simpler. So, another interesting dimension to consider as you watch this video clip.

The film has four songs in all, and the interesting thing is that all the four songs are filmed in the same setting, in what looks like the lounge room of a bar. The set of actors in all four songs are also more or less the same. In the song, the performer on screen is declaring that giving up drinking is not possible, and the bottle will always be with him, wherever he would go. Enjoy is hilarious spoof, that is so well performed by Meenu, the Mystic on screen.

Rest of the songs of this film to follow soon. 🙂

gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu, sabhi bhulaawo gham

O intelligent men
Come, sing along (with me)
And let all sorrows be forgotten

(NOTE: The word ‘saadhu’ has been very commonly used by Sant Kabirdas in his dohas (couplets) and bhajans. Whenever he has used this word in his poetry, it is almost always a form of addressal and an exhortation to intelligent and cultured folk, to pay attention to what the poet is saying. The word ‘saadhu’ literally means one who is intelligent, who understands, and who can discriminate between what is right and wrong, and what is important and unimportant in life. Nothing much disturbs his balance and equanimity. A ‘saadhu’ is not an ascetic (‘sanyaasi’) and in that sense, he has not renounced the material world. A ‘saadhu’ is one who is involved in ‘saadhnaa’ or practice – practice of meditation or practice of principles in life. In this context, the performer on screen is exhorting his fellow drunkards with the same addressal – ‘saadhu’. For in his state of mind and in his circumstance, the only intelligent people for him are the ones who understand and appreciate the ‘virtues’ of drinking, and the effect it has on them. And hence, the use of word ‘saadhu’.)

solah baras se loot maar kar peete hain hum log
ab phir chhod sakey hum kaise, whiskey, brandy, rum

For all of sixteen years so far
We have been drinking, at all costs
Even stealing and assaulting people
And now, how can one expect us
To abandon these wonderful companions
Whiskey, brandy and rum

jitni door bhi jaaye basogey whiskey rahegi sameep
arre peetey peetey har ek gutter mein, so jaawo hardam

No matter how far one may travel
And even make home in a faraway place
Yet whiskey will always be at hand
And friends, have more to drink. . . and more
And after that
Sleep in comfort in any gutter

jaawo tum sab hotel mein aur khair manaawo apni
arre hum pee pee kar gaayen naachen, t’ttaa thai thai dhamm dhamm

All who patronize this hotel (bar)
Beware and watch out for yourself
For we will drink and be merry
We will sing and dance
And thump the floor
And so others, please beware and watch out for yourself


Song-Gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu (Miss Frontier Mail)(1936) Singer-Meenu Cooper, Lyrics-Unknown, MD-Master Mohammad

Lyrics

gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham
gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham
solah baras se loot maar kar
peete hain hum log
solah baras se loot maar kar
peete hain hum log
ab phir chhod sakey hum kaise
ab phir chhod sakey hum kaise
whiskey, brrrandy, rum
gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham
gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham

jitni door bhi jaaye basogey
whiskey rahegi sameep
jitni door bhi jaaye basogey
whiskey rahegi sameep
arre peetey peetey
har ek gutter mein
arre peetey peetey
har ek gutter mein
so jaawo hardam
gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham
gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham

jaawo tum sab hotel mein
jaawo tum sab hotel mein
aur khair manaawo apni
arre hum pee pee kar gaayen naachen
hum pee pee kar gaayen naachen
t’ttaa thai thai dhamm dhamm
gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham
gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu
sabhi bhulaawo gham

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4 Responses to "Gaawo gaawo ae mere saadhu"

We have come a long way since 1932 as far as playback singing is concerned. In fact there was no playback singing then. The actor would sing their own songs on the set/outdoor with the musician following the actors. They some time had to be perched on the trees!!!Then came playback singing. It had it own limitations. If a singer or any musician sang besura or played a false note; poor singer had to sing all over again. Poor Mukesh sometimes had to sing 28 times till the song got ok(most of the times the musicians were not the culprit; remember his: bhajan Sur ki gati mai kya janu ek bhajan karna janu)
I had attended quite a few recordings at Famous Studio, near Bombay Central. Gaining entry was difficult. My stock query would elicit quick response; I would ask the durbaan: Sharmaji aye hai kya? Haa aye hai, jaiye. There were many Sharmajis. Once I attended Rafi’s recording.
The musician start practising before the singer enters. Rafisaab entered after 2 hours. He went inside the glass cubicle. Put on the earphones so he could hear the music being played outside. He checked where he has to start/pick up the cue. After say 15 minutes he would be ready(he had already rehearsed the song with the MD few days ago). After few takes the song is okayed. He would come out and he would be congratulated by the MD and sound recordist mostly Kaushikji. He would then come to few of us and ask humbly and softly ‘apko gaana kaisa laga’.He would comb his hair incessantly(no wonder he lost most of them).
Few years ago I was invited to a recording of Sonu Kakkad(Babuji Dhire fame). I was shocked. There were no musicians as the music was already recorded earlier few days ago and stored in the laptop. Sonu entered the glass cubicle. They played the music few times. She sang the song. The MD wanted some changes (murkis accentuated) Sonu just sang that particular line only and the laptop fellow cooly CUT the offending portion and COPY PASTED the correct portion. Bingo the song was okayed after few cut copy paste.
Just guess what more would be in store for us in the near future.

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Sudhir ji,
Actually,I was about to put my Farmaish for this song,once I found that it was available,but some other matters forced me to postpone it.
Thanks for posting it.
Actually it seems this is NOT the FIRST parody song in Hindi films.
It so happens that in the early 1936,a parody song in film “Sunehra Sansar” had appeared.The song was a parody of the famous Dr.Iqbal song-Saare jahan se acchha Hindostan hamara…..
The words of this parody song were-
‘Saare jahan se achha sabun bana hamara,hum kishtiyan hai iski….’
The lyricist was Vijay kumar B.A. and the Music was by K.C.Dey.
After this parody of the patriotic song was released,people were angry,instead of being amused and then as a retaliation,a parody of K.C.Dey’s song ‘Jao jao aye mere sadho….’ from Puran Bhagat was introduced in the film ‘Miss Frontier mail’ in the same year.
By the way,the singer of the song posted here is Mr.Minu Cooper(Minoo the Mystiqe),who was a popular singer in Parsi circle those days and used to sing in various hotels of Bombay.
-AD

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Arun ji,

Thanks for the additional info. Sir, you always have the most interesting info that is not available elsewhere. Now we know the circumstances behind this song.
🙂

Rgds
Sudhir

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Fantastic discovery. Had he sung in a somewhat slow tempo it would have been a perfect replica of Jao jao ae mere sadho. I think the change of tempo was deliberate to make it obvious that it was a parody.

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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